Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"The Crossroads" By L. Ron Hubbard

"The Crossroads"
By L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio
and Golden Age Stories
Approx. 2 hours

I have found my new addiction, Pulp magazine audio books. The old pulps full of short stories by great authors seem like a thing of the past. I don't know of any magazines that print short stories within any genre like they used to back in the mid 20th century. Some of the best science-fiction writers practiced their arts in those magazines. Golden Age Stories and Galaxy Press have taken over 150 stories by L. Ron Hubbard and have produced their own pulps, in the printed books they include some of the original artwork that went along with the stories and the books can contain from one to five stories within a genre. The many genres Mr. Hubbard wrote in were; Sea Adventure, Far Flung Adventure, Air Adventure, Westerns, Fantasy and my favorite, Science-Fiction.

Galaxy Audio (part of Galaxy Press, of course) has produced each of these "pulps" into what I would term Pulp Audio books. They have kept them affordable at 2 hours of stories for only $9.95 (2 discs). I understand they are also available as downloads, and sometime ask me about the super cool ePulp (a fully loaded iPod).

The great thing about Galaxy Audio is that they have taken these fantastic tales with larger than life characters and created some great listening. Like the printed books re-create the old pulps, the audio versions, with their multi-cast acting, sound effects and superb incidental music, re-create the old time radio dramas. The larger than life characters are superbly acted out and seem to be even larger than larger than life.

Here are the three stories included with this audio book:

"The Crossroads"
Originally published in February, 1941 issue of "Unknown Fantasy Fiction," may seem a bit like a lesson in capitalism and socialism. Farmer Eben Smith is fed up with the government paying him to bury his surplus produce in order to fix the economy when there are people starving in the world. So, Eben loads up his cart with some of his surplus, hooks up the horse and decides to take the food to the city and share the wealth, while making a little bit of money as well. Eben finds himself lost at a very strange crossroads. The crossroads consists of four very different roads: the wheel rutted road he's traveling, a white dusty trail, a road that consists of large boulders, and a shiny metal road. The travelers on each road seem to have something to barter, but once the barter starts each society represented by a road goes into turmoil. I guess this is what happens when a farmer falls into a nexus of time.

"Borrowed Glory"
Originally published in October, 1941 issue of "Unknown Worlds," Is a bit of a romantic story that tells of two magical beings that make a bet that a human cannot have everything he/she wants and then give it back after only 48 hours. One of the being seeks out an elderly woman that is on her death bed with no friends or family. She has led her life hanging in the background and is dying a lonely woman. Given the chance to love and be happy for 48 hours is a perfect chance for her. She soon meets a rich playwright and falls in love. The star-crossed lovers complete their whirlwind romance by getting married. As the woman approaches her 48th hour she leaves her husband and tells him not to look for her. As any man in love would do, he tracks her down, and in true L. Ron Hubbard form brings a conclusion to the story which may surprise you.

"The Devil's Rescue"
Originally published in October, 1940 issue of "Unknown Fantasy Fiction," a sailor is lost at sea after all the members of his ship have died just as they round The Cape of Good Hope. After he spends a week alone in a small lifeboat, he is rescued by a mysterious ship with an even more mysterious crew. He soon finds himself rolling bones to save his skin. This story is one that shows the jack-of-all-trades background of L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard was once a sea-farin' man and his use of the terminology really shines here, as a former Navy man I loved hearing the nautical terms to push the story along.

Once again another collection of larger than life stories to lose yourself for a couple of hours.

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